Natural Laws in Scientific Practice by Marc Lange
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Natural Laws in Scientific Practice
By Marc Lange

Natural Laws in Scientific Practice

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Format: Hardback

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Natural Laws in Scientific Practice by Marc Lange

Book Description

Laws of nature have long been thought to have special significance for aspects of scientific reasoning such as counterfactual conditionals, inductive projections, and scientific explanations. But the laws' distinctive roles in scientific reasoning have proved notoriously difficult to identify precisely, leading some philosophers even to suggest that there are no such roles. The aim of this book is to determine these roles and see what a law of nature must be in order for the laws to function as they do in scientific practice. Lange shows that the laws possess a uniquely broad range of invariance under counterfactual perturbations, a range that for the first time is characterised without appealing to the concept of a law. It is argued that the laws fail to supervene on the nonnomic facts, just as the rules governing chess fail to supervene on the moves made in a given actual game. It is also argued, against both regularity accounts and analyses of laws as relations among universals, that a law need not be associated with an exceptionless regularity. It is explained how a law of one scientific field (e.g. cardiology) can be an accident of another (e.g. fundamental physics). Special attention is paid to laws of biology and other 'special sciences', and it is argued that their distinctive range of invariance allows these fields to supply scientific explanations that are irreducible, even in principle, to explanations in terms of fundamental physics. Another special feature of this book is its emphasis on the distinction between laws of nature and physically necessary coincidences, a distinction crucial to the concept of natural kind. An account is also given of 'meta-laws', such as symmetry principles. Among the philosphers receiving special discussion are Lewis, Goodman, van Fraassen, Armstrong, Dretske, Earman, Mill, Fodor, Hempel, Giere, Putnam, Dennett, and Mackie.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195131482
ISBN-10: 0195131487
Format: Hardback
(241mm x 163mm x 27mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 2-Nov-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Marc Lange

Because Without Cause by Marc Lange Because Without Cause, Hardback (November 2016)

Not all scientific explanations work by describing causal connections between events or the world's overall causal structure. In addition, mathematicians regard some proofs as explaining why the theorems being proved do in fact hold. This book proposes new philosophical accounts of many kinds of non-causal explanations in science and mathematics.

Laws and Lawmakers Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature by Marc Lange Laws and Lawmakers Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature, Hardback (October 2009)

What distinguishes laws of nature from ordinary facts? What are the "lawmakers": the facts in virtue of which the laws are laws? How can laws be necessary, yet contingent? Lange provocatively argues that laws are distinguished by their necessity, which is grounded in primitive subjunctive facts, while also providing a non-technical and accessible survey of the field.

Laws and Lawmakers by Marc Lange Laws and Lawmakers, Paperback (July 2009)

What distinguishes laws of nature from ordinary facts? What are the "lawmakers": the facts in virtue of which the laws are laws? How can laws be necessary, yet contingent? Lange provocatively argues that laws are distinguished by their necessity, which is grounded in primitive subjunctive facts, while also providing a non-technical and accessible survey of the field.

Natural Laws in Scientific Practice by Marc Lange Natural Laws in Scientific Practice, Paperback (September 2007)

Philosopher of science Marc Lange aims to develop a new account of the roles that laws of nature play in scientific reasoning (such as counterfactual conditionals, inductive projections, and scientific explanations) and what those roles imply about the very nature of natural laws.

» View all books by Marc Lange

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